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    US Navy Constructing Second America-Class Amphibious Assault Ship

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    A new America-class amphibious assault ship is currently being built at a Huntington Ingalls shipyard, according to the US Navy.

    The America-class second amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7) being constructed at a Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, is nearly one third complete, according to US military officials.

    "The LHA 7 is approximately 30% complete.  Fabrication has started on 211 units, 97% of all units, and 84 grand blocks are erected — 47% of the total," US Navy spokesman Mathew Leonard stated as quoted by Military.com reporter Kris Osborn.

    The vessel is scheduled for launch in July 2017 and is expected to be delivered to the Navy in December 2018. 

    The America-class amphibious assault ships were initially designed to carry into battle a US Marine Expeditionary Unit – a quick reaction force – along with attack helicopters and V/STOL (vertical and/or short take-off and landing) aircraft.

    The first America-class warship, the USS America (LHA 6), meant to act as the flagship of an expeditionary strike group, was delivered to the US Navy in spring of 2014 in order to replace the Tarawa-class USS Peleliu (LHA-5).

    Osborn pointed out that the first two America-class warships, constructed as aviation-centric amphibs, were engineered with a larger hangar for aircraft, bigger storage for parts and additional aviation fuel capacity.

    The LHA (Landing Helicopter Assault) 7 is specifically designed to accommodate Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and to host other aircraft such as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53 Super Stallions, and UH-1Y Huey helicopters, according to US expert in civil-military relations and cyber diplomacy Franz-Stefan Gady.

    Citing the US Navy website’s official report, Gady elaborated that the USS Tripoli will "transport and land elements of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) or Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) with a combination of aircraft and landing craft," adding that the ship will be able to carry 1,871 troops and a crew of 1,204.

    Navy spokesman Mathew Leonard underscored that the LHA 7 was designed as a "repeat" of the LHA 6 with a number of limited changes to the ship's fight deck structure and equipment in order to accommodate the F-35B aircraft. 

    "The Navy and Ingalls have identified lessons learned from design and construction of LHA 6 for incorporation into design and construction of LHA 7 to improve production and quality," Leonard remarked.

    The USS Tripoli will be 844-feet long, 106-feet wide and weigh over 44,000 tons. Its turbine propulsion system will allow the vessel to reach speeds of more than 20 knots (23 miles per hour). 

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    Tags:
    amphibious assault ship, warship, MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Huey, F-35, Marine Corps, The US Navy, Mississippi, United States
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